10+ Unilateral Leg Extension Machine Exercises that will blow your mind
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Single-leg exercises on this machine are great because they allow you to lose weight. You will likely fail as much as half your weight or more, so you can get a great workout even if you have very little. One leg should be pointing back, and the other should be lifting the weight. Instead of alternate legs, perform your set (10 reps) with one leg and switch to the opposite. Another benefit of doing one leg is that each leg can rest while the other works, making you more efficient with your time.
Leg curls while seated
The machine’s other major exercises are leg curls, which are also my least favourite. Leg curls are an excellent exercise for the hamstrings, and I have nothing to do with them. However, it is not difficult to set up this machine. You may recall the tip I gave you about changing the starting position to reduce resistance. You won’t be able to do this with seated leg curls because the thigh pads kind of lock you in a place like a seatbelt. These can still prove to be very useful if you get it set up correctly. I love to sit down on the machine and lock my thigh pads in. Once the weight has been loaded onto the peg, I will grab it and pull it towards myself. Now, I can quickly straighten my legs back to the starting position by lowering the leg pad.
Let’s begin with the obvious: leg extension. This is the primary purpose of this leg extension/leg curl machine and why I bought it. Leg extensions can be an excellent exercise for building quad strength if done correctly.
Standing Leg Curls
Standing leg curls, which are a variation of leg extensions, are another exercise I do with this machine. Although you can only do one leg at a time, this is a great hamstring exercise. I prefer seated leg curls to it. Face the machine and keep your knees on the seat. Then, lift the weight behind you. Standing leg curls require that you keep your weight light. I find the contraction in my hamstrings much stronger than sitting.
Single Leg Curls
You can also do leg extensions with one leg! This one may not be comfortable if you have a larger body. These are the best options to keep one leg out of your way. Adjust your body so that your leg is slightly off to the side. It works well for me. However, the machine can be too narrow for some people, so you prefer to use the standard seated leg curls.
Although they are a great product, back extension machines can be expensive. It is not something I would use for my home gym. Now I have one of these machines! You can adjust the leg extension machine like the ab crunches. All you need to do is sit back on the seat with your legs under the back pad. People who do back extensions have a problem: they tend to hyperextend their backs. You may have done back attachments on one of those roman chairs, where your upper body hangs from the machine, and your body is lifted against gravity. Your back should be straight. You don’t want your lower back to become hyperextended. This is why back extensions are so effective. You won’t be capable of pushing your weight back past where your back is straight. This makes it an effective exercise for your lower back.
We’re going to be creative. You can perform ab crunches comparable to any machine at your gym if you set the machine up so that the pad is at the top. To sit up on the edge of your seat, you will need to move with your feet on the ground. Once you are in position, you can do ab crunches. You will need to adjust the seat and pad according to your height to fit against your chest. These will be your best friends once you have it set up correctly.
Single-Leg Hip Twists
If in doubt, use single-leg Single-leg hip thrusts with one leg that will burn your glutes. You don’t even need to be very overweight to achieve this! Keeping your one leg straight in front of yourself will also help with core stability. These single-leg hip thrusts are a great leg workout.
Barbell hip thrusts can be a great exercise to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. However, they are challenging to set up. It’s not very enjoyable to load the bar and then move underneath it with a pad before getting into a comfortable place on a bench. Although hip thrusts with leg extension are not as efficient as barbell-based hip thrusts (we can only lift so much weight), I still love them. Although the weight of your barbell hip thrusts will be lower, it is still significantly lighter than that of barbell hip thrusts. However, the movement is slightly different, so it cannot be compared directly to barbell hip thrusts. To make it more comfortable, I placed a barbell pad behind this machine. The slot in the device allows for the thigh pad, which is made of hard plastic, to slide into. We want to make sure that it doesn’t slip. A barbell pad can be used over the slot. I will introduce you to someone who can use enough weight to make these hip thrusts more effective if you don’t have the right weight.
Narrow Stance Vertical Leg Press
You can work your legs together by using a narrow stance leg press. Keep your knees and feet together. Next, perform the regular leg press motion. Keep your stance slim when it comes to leg exercises (leg press or squats), and you will be able to shift your focus to your quads. A narrow stance means quad-focused, a comprehensive view means hamstring/glute focus. This leg extension machine is small, so you can’t use it with both your feet. We recommend using narrow stance leg presses.
Vertical Single-Leg Leg Press
These exercises will be performed while we are not on the machine. We will not touch the seat. Two things are essential to note upfront because of this: Do not put on too much weight to do these exercises. You risk tipping the machine over. Keep in mind that we are not sitting on the device, and nothing is holding it back! To help it weigh down, place a plate or something similar on the seat. These exercises will be light, but we want the machine to have some weight. Place a yoga mat or pad on the ground in front of the device. Then, adjust the residence so that it is above you. Press the weight one at a time with one leg. For home workouts, I love doing vertical leg presses. If you can work against gravity, you make the movement more complicated, which means that you will use less weight. It’s also a great bonus to be at home with a limited amount of weight! Vertical pressing + single leg = practical training without the need for super heavyweights.
Press Single Leg, Seated Leg
You can also set up a bench in front of the leg extension machine for regular seated leg presses if you find the vertical leg press too uncomfortable. I prefer a single leg for the seated leg press. Although I sound like a broken record, I still want to keep this machine light. One leg is enough. This exercise is hazardous because you can’t go too heavy. You will push your bench backwards. It’s simple physics… I don’t pretend to know much about physics. However, I know that trying something weighty with no support will cause you to fall.
Raise a Seated Calf
You need to place a block in front of the machine for seated calves raises. Although I have a small block specifically for calf raises in mind, any other aerobic step, brick or partnership will do. Although this exercise should be pretty self-explanatory, I want to add one thing. Do not lift the weight. I see too many people doing seated calf raises quickly, jumping up and down fast. This will do nothing for your calves. Your heels should be as low as possible. Next, lift your heels as high as possible and squeeze your calves. Slowly lower your heels. These will be far more efficient if they are kept slow and under control.
Leg Press for Narrow Stance
We also have the option of performing narrow-stance seated leg presses, just like the vertical leg press. This is impossible for me. Although I love the idea of keeping the weight low and the reps high for this exercise, I can’t do it enough to make it practical. These are not suitable for you if you’re not strong enough. You can also use the vertical leg press, which is more difficult with a lighter weight.
We also have some glute kickbacks. I prefer to lie on a bench with my knees close to the edge for these glute kickbacks. This allows me to adjust my starting position so that my knee is slightly lower than the bench. It gives me a full range of motion, which is very comforting. You can also do these exercises on the ground if you don’t have or wish to use a bench. Instead of lying flat, place your hands on your knees and kick the weight forward.
In the end, if you know of any other unilateral leg extension machine exercises comment below with your workouts. We’ll be thankful for this, and do not forget to link us around Facebook and contact us if you want more help.